Friday, February 20, 2009


Once a crutch for the most needy, food pantries have responded to the deepening recession by opening their doors to “the next layer of people” — a rapidly expanding roster of child-care workers, nurse’s aides, real estate agents and secretaries facing a financial crisis for the first time.
Demand at food banks across the country increased by 30 percent in 2008 from the previous year, according to a survey by Feeding America, which distributes more than two billion pounds of food every year. And instead of their usual drop in customers after the holidays, many pantries in upscale suburbs this year are seeing the opposite.
Experts said that chronically poor people tend to adapt to the periods where money is scarce by asking for support from friends or tapping into social services, but that working-class people who suddenly lose jobs or homes often find themselves at sea, unsure how to navigate the system or ashamed to seek help.
It is those people who, over the last several months, have started arriving in growing numbers at food pantries, which are often the first tentative step for those whose incomes are too high to qualify for government assistance. (Many pantries have a no-questions policy, though they might determine how many bags of groceries a customer can receive by the number of people in the household.)
These are people who have never had to ask for help before, and they could easily be your neighbors, or the parents of your children's class mates. Whereas in our parents generations communities were just that, a circle of neighbors and friends looking out for each other; today's communities are far more cloistered and aloof.
We frequently don't know if our neighbors are saints, or mass murderers, and some times they are. It is astounding the number of instances in modern times that criminals, deviants and psychopaths of all sorts can completely assimilate into our bedroom communities....until they snap. And with that wonderful potential, along with our busy lives, home theatres, and total exhaustion have resulted in complete neighborhoods of strangers.
So what is the solution, get a little nosy into the affairs of your neighbors? Not hardly. The answer is to actively support your local food banks, and churches who offer assistance to the needy.

Don't know where to help? Try this web site (link). They have been serving the needs of the resources impaired for years now. Still not convinced? try these statistics on for size....according to the USDA, there are 35 million Americans without the resources necessary to get enough food for their tables, and that is one in eight. Yes, 1 in 8 Americans need assistance with our nations abundant food resources, and only 12% of them are homeless. They are increasingly like you and me, and they need our help. Need one more push? Last year, the L.A. Regional Food bank serviced over 156,000 clients a week. A week. And of those, 27% were children, and 15% were elderly. Let's get involved.


Papa Giorgio said...


We are put in every available spot our church has with the foodbank in Canyon Country. I think it is under "Feed the Children" (or some similar Christian organization). Our church had a drive for this org as well:


Kim said...

We had a food drive at work, first one ever....and my store outperformed every store within the entire region. We got a ton of peanut butter / salmonella blends (just kidding). I want to make it a regular thing, and send it locally (instead of the L A Food bank).